no credit necessary, came from PR

Amazon India has tied up with Vodafone to let people see, test and find out more information about the handsets before they buy them. It’s currently in the pilot phase in 40 Vodafone stores across Bangalore. These stores will have trained people to assist the customers, but they still cannot purchase the devices through these stores; they still have to buy it from Amazon’s website.

A spokesperson from the company told MediaNama that customers can also walk in to these stores for assistance related issues such as returns or repairs, who will then be connected to Amazon’s call centers or to the nearest brand authorized service center. Consumer electronics is Amazon’s fastest growing sub-category in India and the number of smartphones sold exclusively through its website has been increasing steadily. These stores is also meant “to acquire incremental set of customers who are not yet shopping online,” the company said.

Project Udaan: In November last year, the e-tailer launched Project Udaan wherein it placed PCs with internet connectivity across retail points like kirana stores, medical stores and mobile shopping outlets. Storeowners also trained to help customers place orders online on Amazon website.

Last month, the company tied up with logistics provider ConnectIndia for expanding Project Udaan in rural areas across Punjab. Customers can place orders at offline stores and get them delivered at ConnectIndia Centers, which earlier operated as rural distribution centers for Amazon and as a POS counter.

Amazon India investment: Less than a week after investing Rs 1,350 crore in its India operations, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced an additional infusion of $3 billion (about Rs 20,000 crore) in June. This takes Amazon’s total investment in India to $5 billion. It announced an investment of $2 billion back in July 2014, which the company has already completed in phases over the past two years.

Other developments in the online-offline

-In February, Paytm had entered multi-channel retail model by tying up with offline players in the mobile and electronic appliances sector and enabling them to list their stores on its e-commerce marketplace.

–Ecommerce player Snapdeal introduced ‘Janus’, a multi channel platform where users can discover, buy, same day local delivery and get value added services such as demos, installation, activation and returns at a store near them.

Flipkart also launched 20 offline ‘experience’ centres across 10 cities in India, in conjunction with its logistics partner Ekart, where users can also pick up their products from.

–Listings website JustDial ventured into to e-commerce services by introducing a marketplace for selling electronics and white goods. It started aggregating neighborhood electronics shops, and selling mobile phones, television sets, digital cameras, etc.

–Alibaba said that it is now shifting its focus on pushing its online-to-offline model by collaborating with on the ground retailers to help with increasing their logistics network.

–In September 2014, Future Group also tied-up with muti-commerce technology solutions provider hybris software, to converge its digital and physical channels. Following this tie-up all Future Group brands are available online since March 2015.